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JO JANOSKI resides in Pittsburgh, PA, USA with her husband, Ron.

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Posted: 08:28 AM, November 19, 2007
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The Yellow Blouse

The Yellow Blouse by William Merritt Chase

The Yellow Blouse

Sister dear, why stare you so
with eyes of coal?
Blackest black, deadened by woe
bulleting soul.

Tightened smile, eyes shooting pain,
what makes you sad?
Yellow blouse hides well your strain
to appear glad.

Mother made you wear that rag
despite words bold.
Lovely bodice wrapped in bags
of lace and folds.

The painter, he has your heart.
Love sick pain maze.
Your lips tighten, your eyes dart
under his gaze.

Hiding under yellow folds.
Heart beats denied.
Smothered love, truth never told.
Silent, you cried.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski


Posted: 09:18 AM, November 15, 2007 in Poetry
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Why eat canned soup?

Excuse me while I digress...

Why eat canned soup?

Why do we eat canned soup? The question occurred to me as I bent over my bowl of Campbell's vegetable soup. The discarded can on the sink stared back as I sipped. I studied the condensed soup blobs spilled on top of the ubiquitous Campbell's red and white label. The empty can presented a forlorn picture, much like the mediocre product itself.

Why not make fresh soup? If you cheat and use bouillon, it doesn't take long. Or if you make your own stock, all the better. Cleaning and chopping the veggies is no big deal; or cheater that you are, frozen veggies or dehydrated ones are an option. Or a combination of dried and fresh carrots and potatoes. Left over meat, pasta flung in, the possibilities are endless. And then lunch could be an event instead of a boring bowl of Campbells.

Because of the memories,
that's why. We eat canned soup because of the memories. Enjoying my soup, I can be ten years old again. Ten years old and sitting with my mother, having lunch as we always did. I rushed home from grammar school to eat with her and my brother. We had our soup and all was right with the world.

The fifties housewife did not place an emphasis or fresh like we do today. Canned soup was fine by them, a nice convenience no one ever questioned. But then again, they spent their time shining windows, vacuuming, and ironing all-cotton clothes, being the excellent, not housekeepers, but homemakers, that they were. All that, and they were there to listen at lunch to our problems and stories. To smile and encourage.

Ah, there is the difference! We may eat fresh vegetable soup, but do we eat it at the table together for lunch? No. Each family member grabs it on the fly whenever it fits his schedule. So the soup is good today, the company not so much. Mom may have served canned soup, but it was served with abundant love and attention in good company every day.

We may have good, fresh veggies in our soup, but Mom's canned was still better. Hers made memories.

Posted: 09:25 AM, November 12, 2007 in Essays
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Night Terrors...part 2...the story

The second part, story part, of a Musecrafters Challenge

Night Terrors  

I stretched on my bed, alone, as the clock ticked. Radiant moonlight drenched me in its glow, like icy murmurs of ghosts outside swishing in the snow. I don't know why I imagined them as playful, "swishing" in the snow. Everyone knows ghosts are fearsome creatures. But really, what interest have I in ghosts?

I closed my eyes and prayed for slumber. But the flickering moonlight transformed to a strobe racing in frantic bolts across my body, fueled by a windy concert master who made tree limbs outside the window tremble in the moonlight. And tremble, so did I.

The murmurs again. This time they lingered in my ears, cementing their presence...here in my room.

I bolted up, eyes wide, jaw dropped, my own heavy breathing then the only sounds. Gazing about, I saw nothing.

I laid back down and closed my eyes. The strobes took center stage again, pulsating like wacky electrical charges across my prone torso. My heart picked up on their rhythm, pounding in unison to the light strikes.

The murmurs again, this time louder, roaring like a train in the distance. And the lights pounded,  pounded across my body. Lights, pounding vibration, whispers and gentle squeals, lights...my body joined in the raucous. I felt it give way to the demands of the moment, vibrating in a frenetic display; but it wasn't my torso that moved...it was my soul. My soul pounded, demanding to be let go. It quivered in my chest, then dissatisfied, thumped harder, until finally it screamed against my pleas to stay put. And then I felt it escape. With a tug and a screech, it pulled free of my desperate demands and with new life shot up to the ceiling. To my alarm, I traveled along  in a whispery stream, my consciousness contained in its vapors, content and free from bodily concerns, free from worldly worry. I floated. I don't know for how long, but I recall looking down to see myself, my bodily self that is, still lying on the bed. I think I may have been centuries floating up there, but only one physical moment in earthly time.

The murmurs returned. Only this time they were angry screeches. I was an unwelcome guest. I knew it. They wanted me to go, to return to my proper plane and be a good human.

A crack of thunder outside the window sent my ghostly presence tumbling down in a blast like the big bang. I slammed into my physical body with a horrific jolt that shook the bed. My eyes flew open at the sound of my trumpeting heart. I was back. 

Exhausted, I rolled over and succumbed to restless sleep that at least offered an avenue to practice my necessary denial. My "trip" was lovely, but "they" didn't want me. I was unwelcome among them, at least for now. It's a good thing. Because, really, what interest have I in ghosts?

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 08:52 AM, November 11, 2007 in Short Stories
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Night Terrors

The assignment poem, a Jozzonet
Night Terrors

Alone as the clock ticks
I stretch on my bed
drenched by full moon radiance
frigid as icy murmurs
as ghosts go swishing in snow.
But what interest have I in ghosts?
As ghosts go swishing in snow
frigid as icy murmurs
drenched by full moon radiance
I stretch on my bed
alone as the clock ticks.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 02:59 PM, November 10, 2007 in Poetry
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Powdered Sugar Donuts

A write for the Musecrafters Writing Workshop:

(Okay, so I'm still searching for my "inner Bob"--here is my first attempt, not intellectual enough, I know)

Powdered Sugar Donuts

"I promise no new taxes and we'll have a balanced budget!" His words, sailing out over the crowd, catapulted to the ground in lumps of dead black rhetoric before the sound even dissipated in the air. Not well received. The chunky politician in a blue suit felt his face flush as red as his tie. The blush rushed all the way to his balding head, up, up, up like a flooding river running in the wrong direction. A man can never feel more vulnerable than when his bald head is unprotected and exposed.

You stinkin' Republican! You just want to get richer!

You're saying you won't tax us, but you will!

You bastards are all alike!

Bill Brandy leaned down to talk to his second-in-command. That fine fellow sat in the first row, hunched down in his seat under the barrage of angry voices. Bill mouthed the words at him.

"Who the hell let these people in here? I thought you screened the audience!"

Jim Jenson got up and went to his boss. "We did. Looks like the Demmies pulled a fast one on us!"

"Filthy Bastards!" Bill loosened his tie and glared out at the mob. "What'll I do?"

"You can't cut and run. It'll look bad."

Brandy wiped beads of sweat from his forehead with a clean white handkerchief. He took a deep breath. "Okay, but my blood sugar is low. You gotta go get me some donuts. I need donuts, powdered ones. I need them now or I can't go on."

Jim Jenson stared back, his jaw dropped. Donuts! At a time like this he wants donuts!

He headed for the lobby. If you saw the middle-aged clerk, you wouldn't think he would be campaign manager for a big time politician. He stood only 5'7" tall, thin light brown hair, a face overrun by huge brown shell glasses, and a sheepish demeanor with a nervous little mouth and tiny evasive blue eyes. But when it came to politics, he grew horns. He was a Party animal to be reckoned with.

Finally, he spied a coffee shop. A colorful array of donuts were stacked on the counter under a glass dome. As he rushed in, the scent of sugar lined his nostrils with its sickening stench. Donuts! Yuck! Even as a child he hated their heavy grease and tons of lightweight sugar powder and gooey icing. He'd rather have a nice thick satisfying Snickers any day. Donuts were for wimps.

"Can I help you?" The tiny clerk tapped her finger on the counter as she waited. The noise, along with her face with its crooked lines and her big hair fighting to free itself from a hair net, spun off an overall feeling of a war in progress.

"I need two powdered sugar donuts."

"We're out of powdered sugar. How about glazed?"

BAM! The plan had slammed into a brick wall.

"I don't know! Do you have anything like powdered sugar?"


"You know, something that looks or tastes like it?"

"What? Donuts are donuts. They're all good!"

"No. I want powdered sugar. If you don't have powdered sugar, perhaps I should look elsewhere." That should do it. Whenever you threaten to shop elsewhere, the stubborn clerk always finds what you want underneath. They always have one of the good stuff stashed underneath that they're holding for someone else.

"I told you! I don't have any!"

"Yes, you do. Now pony up with the donuts, sister!"

"Are you crazy? ...SECURITY!"

For such a tiny woman, she had a loud voice. Short people are like that, voices shrieky  like little Chihuahua dogs. Her cry thrashed out into the lobby like a banshee on the run. Security guards ran  in from all directions. In a matter of minutes, they had Jim Jenson cuffed and transported to the office for questioning.

Back at the lecture hall, Bill Brandy sat on the edge of the stage, bawling like a baby. "Where are my donuts? Powdered sugar ones? W-a-a-a-a-ah!" He didn't win the election.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 08:42 AM, November 5, 2007 in Short Stories
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Unwelcome Guest

She's out there peeking...

The Red Cape by Claude Monet

Unwelcome Guest

Eyes questioning, wrapped in red
Barricade of black with lace
Glass still lets me see her face
Peeking as I dread.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 07:37 PM, November 4, 2007 in Poetry
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A Musecrafters Writing Workshop Challenge

Daybreak by Tashami Acura


Blushing hues
Mumble shy beauty
Steeped in morning's groggy hymn
Blessed stillness before sun intrudes
Rays shouting, bumping, staring
Quietude banished
By fury.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 10:20 PM, November 3, 2007 in Poetry
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More Chain Fiction

More good reading at Chain Fiction, a collaboration between me and another writer. What a story!

Posted: 08:31 AM, November 3, 2007 in Short Stories
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An Interview and a Great Magazine

It isn't often I am interviewed and the finished product expresses exactly what I meant to say. Many thanks to Harry Furness for accomplishing that  amazing feat for Word Catalyst magazine. I highly recommend the column. In fact, I urge  you to read the entire magazine. It is chock full of entertaining offerings from a gathering of the best creative people I know. Satire, humor, photos, art, poetry, stories--all available for you, presented proudly and at no charge.  Word Catalyst Magazine

Posted: 07:50 PM, November 1, 2007
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For the Musecrafters Writing Workshop

Dance-Of-Death  by Michael Wolgemut

Clang a Bang

Clang-a-bang sounds at night
Rattling old bones.
Angry screams, howls of fright.
I'm not alone.

Footfalls loud, dancing glee.
Skeletal joy.
Are they coming for me?
Am I death's toy?

Clang-a-bang. Daring raid.
Hollow-eyed glare.
Dance of Death on parade.
My demise stares.

In dark shadows rattling.
Assembled bones.
I'm on my guard battling.
Fighting skills honed.

Clang-a-bang resistance.
Make it to light.
Ending death's insistence.
Skeletal fright.

Sunlight drowns out death wish.
Forgiveness born.
Morning dew refreshes.
Life force reborn.

Posted: 08:12 AM, October 29, 2007 in Poetry
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A Difficult Letter

A Difficult Letter ... Painting by James de Vine Aylward

It was the night of Halloween, and I settled at my desk to read my letters. A dismal night it was, too, with a black sky outside, ominous and daring, with a recalcitrant moon poking again through obscured clouds. Those gray puffs skimmed across the inky black like ghosts, capes flowing behind them journeying to God knows where. The moon screamed its presence for all to hear, luminous and expressive, with much to say that night. As I walked home, every darkened tree warned me a goblin might be hiding behind it, ready to pounce and conquer. What do goblins want anyway? I didn't know, and I didn't want to find out.

Thus, my friends, was my state of mind as I arrived home to read my letters. The first of these was a bill which I tossed aside. The second, I did much the same; but the third, upon seeing the chaotic scrawl across the envelope, set my hand to trembling. The penmanship, angular in places, thick and hurried, belied a personality demanding to be heard. Indeed, it was such forceful writing, it yelled and cursed at the reader.

I ripped the packet open, carefully, slowly, showing it due respect. This was difficult with the way my hand was shaking; but the deed got accomplished, all the same. As I slipped my fingers in, my hand protested and started to shake again. I couldn't control it. Whatever message the letter contained, my hand wanted nothing to do with it. Exasperated, I tried with the other; but alas, it trembled even more violently. Finally, with hands like an invalid I clawed at it, grabbing and tugging until the paper ripped. Finally, the injured letter inside, dented and defiled, fell to the floor, escaping the shreds I'd made of the packet.

I pulled it with my foot, scraping along the floor until the envelope rested under the chair. Next, I got down on my knees and tossed the letter about with my shaking hands, my available elbows, whatever I could use to unfold the nasty missive. Truly, I felt so exhausted it was difficult to care at that point what the letter said. But, still on my knees, I leaned forward to read the note where I'd left off with it, on the floor under the chair. It was a stretch, but I could see it at last. Such irony! There I was on my knees, reading a letter from the tax office, questioning my ciphers for my last payment. How fitting for Halloween, the night goblins come out. I should have known.

Posted: 09:48 PM, October 27, 2007 in Short Stories
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Pumpkin Head

Pumpkin Head

Harsh prickly strands of straw
itchy consternation
poking through my shirt sleeves raw.
What a situation!

Ragged flannel patched-up shirt
I’m no fashion icon.
Pitiful hat stained with dirt.
Pumpkin head it hangs on.

I’m a scarecrow, woe is me.
Constructed and not born.
Crows, they laugh heartily
while they nibble my corn.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 08:36 AM, October 24, 2007 in Poetry
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I Want One--- eee pc!

Intel, Asus Announce $199 'Eee PC'

TAIPEI — Asus and Intel have teamed up to develop a $199 notebook PC, the companies announced here on Tuesday.

In a keynote address given by Sean Maloney, an executive vice president at Intel and chief marketing and sales officer, Jonney Shih, chairman and chief executive of Asus, was invited on stage to unveil the "Eee PC," an inexpensive laptop designed to help spread computing to poorer regions.
Eee PC 701

Two models were demonstrated: a $199 and $299 model. more

Posted: 10:23 PM, October 23, 2007 in In the News
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This story was supposed to be for a particular image, but I've decided to use a different character from the painting above. Can you guess which one? (Musecrafters Workshop Challenge 10/22)


He sat at the table with the others, straw hat pushed back off his forehead, sprawling with the chair turned backwards, clutching the back with both hands like he was steering a massive boat out to sea. He might as well go off on the ocean; he was that inaccessible to me, chasing after that wench.

He had no idea how I loved him. It wasn’t that he was a strong man or a handsome man. It was his smile. I loved the way his moustache twittered above his lip when he spoke, full white teeth glaring out, open, expressive. His blue eyes, light, almost as white as the clouds that floated across them when his mind wandered... He was a gorgeous man from within, a sensitive man, a caring man.

I leaned over Sarah to speak to those at the table and his cologne wafted up my nostrils, making my blood race, pumping like an oil well blowing its top. He, on the other hand, sat cooly, studying Sarah through the corner of his eye, never guessing how my heart was about to explode. Foolish man! We could be so good together. We would keep it quiet so no one knew. He could even jaunt about with Sarah on occasion if he wished, to keep up pretenses and hide our affair. I would take whatever he would give me, really. It’s a sorry day for a young man like me, having to cloak my heart and pretend to be different from what I am. I’ll never be permitted to be me, and he’ll never know I love him.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 07:10 AM, October 23, 2007 in Short Stories
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Good Reading! New Chapter Posted!

Chain Fiction
A raucous ongoing story by me and another writer, where we each take turns writing chapters. Anything goes. You'll love it. (Not for the kiddies.)

New Chapter Posted!

Posted: 02:39 PM, October 21, 2007
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Dreamer’s Eye

Dreamer’s Eye

Soft winter tracks following a sweet dream
on snow agleam
sparkling bright, smiling in a dreamer’s eye
as he walks by.

Fill him with flurries giggling in his heart
boyish games start
tickling his toes making him laugh out loud
under snow cloud.

Snow storm magic making children of men
they’re boys again
for this moment before somberness comes
when snow is done.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

A split couplet for the Workshop prompt.

Posted: 10:00 PM, October 20, 2007 in Poetry
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Who at My Page’s Bottom Broods...

Lurking, living on stark edges
Haunting face refusing to leave.
Hanging on my every word...
Why you stay, I cannot conceive.

Your hollow eyes bely my fears
of my hesitant inner muse.
Thy hardened skull reminding me
my deadened heart, her words refuse.

Who shall I call you? What’s your name?
You empty skull, yet electric.
Persona not identified.
Dead, of course, but still eccentric.

Bony? Peppy? Evil-doer?
Dullard? Harry? Sylvester? Who?
What shall I call this bony skull
who at my page’s bottom broods?

Listening, complaining, no peace,
All this without words to say so.
A mime without motion, glaring
Indeed, your name must be Marceau.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski



Posted: 09:11 AM, October 18, 2007 in Poetry
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To the End

Smoky entrance, screaming wolves...

Swirling vapors, blackest night

Ethereal commotion.
Prelude to his entourage
Of bats in locomotion.

Smoky entrance, screaming wolves.
Mist revealing bony hand.
Ragged finger, whisper dark
Beckons me to promised land.

World within dark vapors
Delicious evil calling
Undeniable urges
To be to all appalling.

Resisting not dark missive.
My ghost, my leader, my friend
I’ll go with you to be supreme
Evil-doer to the end.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

Posted: 08:27 AM, October 16, 2007 in Poetry
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Native nude celebration. (A Tanka)

Breezes that tingle
Amidst warm sun vibration
Body-soul joyful
Titillating hot tango
Native nude celebration.

Copyright 2007 JO Janoski

A Prompt for the Musecrafters Writing Workshop


Posted: 02:46 PM, October 15, 2007 in Poetry
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